On the Thames with Sid & Nancy

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Aug 25, 2017

In the summer of 1977, the Sex Pistols set out to crash Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee by causing a ruckus on the Thames. Orchestrated by manager Malcolm McLaren as a promotional stunt for the controversial hit album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, the concert took place on a river cruise and culminated with police encircling the band, who ferociously powered through songs like “Anarchy in the UK” while sailing past Parliament. Less than a decade after that notorious party, director Alex Cox reimagined the scene in Sid & Nancy, his harrowing portrait of bassist Sid Vicious’s doomed romance with his American girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. Glimpses of the preparation that went into this reenactment can be seen on our newly updated edition, which includes Martin Turner’s 1987 documentary England’s Glory, an off-the-cuff, tongue-in-cheek look at the wild antics on the set of Cox’s film. In the excerpt below, watch Cox, cinematographer Roger Deakins, and a band of punk extras get ready to restage the band’s infamous anti-monarchy statement.